Pigs find new home at MSU’s Student Organic Farm

These pigs dined on alfalfa outdoors as conditioning for their new home at MSU's Student Organic Farm

These pigs dined on alfalfa outdoors as conditioning for their new home at MSU's Student Organic Farm

Laurie Thorp, coordinator of Michigan State University’s RISE (Residential Initiative for the Study of the Environment) Program, has moved five pigs to MSU’s Student Organic Farm, as an experiment in “flash grazing.” Instead of being finished on a ration based on corn in a feedlot, the animals will instead eat crop residues (broccoli and then melons) and then maybe move to the woods where they will dine on acorns. Thorp’s research will explore whether this approach benefits the soil, as the animals’ hooves aerate the soil and their manure adds nutrients. Swine specialist Dr. Dale Roseboom will also look at the economics, to see whether this could become a viable alternative to raising swine in CAFOs, the controversial Confined Animal Feeding Operations.

Bonnie Bucqueroux retired from Michigan State University's School of Journalism to experiment with online publications, including Lansing Online News. She is also co-president (with Susan Masten) of Lansing Area NOW.

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